It seems likely that Carrie and Brody's character arcs will continue to mirror one another as the season goes on. This week, they both snap under the weight of accumulated pressure, though depending on whom you believe, one of those acts may have been calculated.
The CIA gets word that U.S. forces have captured the lone surviving terrorist from the attack on Brody's safe house, Afsal Hamid, and they're bringing him back to the States for questioning. Hamid is part of Abu Nazir's Islamic People's Liberation Army, and Estes wants Carrie and Saul to interrogate him ... along with Brody. Carrie reacts to this with her customary steely calm and steadiness. No, of course not, she completely freaks out to Saul. They can't allow Brody in the same room as a fellow terrorist! Think of all the messages they could blink to each other without anyone knowing! She wants to take their suspicions of Brody to Estes now, but Saul manages to talk her down with the idea that they'll be able to observe Brody's behavior during the interrogation and see what they can glean.
We learn a bit more about both Carrie's and Saul's families this week. Since Carrie's sister has been strictly rationing her (unprescribed) anti-psychotic pills, she makes a reluctant trip to her dad's house (as we learned before, dad and daughter share the same affliction). Dad, by the way, is played by quintessential "Hey! It's That Guy!" James Rebhorn, which makes it fun to imagine that he's been doddering around at home ever since he was fired from his position as Secretary of Defense for failing to disclose the existence of an Area 51 research facility during an alien invasion. His relationship with Carrie is strained in a very familial way, but you also get the sense that it's hard for Carrie to be around him, forced to look in the face what she might one day become. So she swipes some of Dad's pills and is on her way.
Saul, meanwhile, welcomes his wife Mira home from India. Their relationship isn't much of anything we haven't seen before. He's married to his job; she accepts it but is getting tired of living it. But there are all sorts of little glimpses into Saul's character that pop up this week. He's apparently a religious man, praying over the dead body of an enemy combatant (one of three scenes depicting prayer this week, along with Brody continuing Muslim prayers in the garage and then later joining his son for old-fashioned kneeling-at-your-bedside Christian prayer). There's also a moment with Mira where he forgets where he put his parking ticket, which of course in TV parlance means he totally has early-onset Alzheimer's. (I fully admit I may be jumping to conclusions here as I just recently watched the Judi Dench movie Iris, in which everybody has Alzheimer's.)
We do also learn some more about Brody's past, although it's nothing we couldn't have guessed. Hamid was one of Brody's captors in Iraq; when he's brought in by Carrie and Saul, he refers to Hamid as his "guard." We see flashbacks of Hamid pissing on Brody and beating him with a club wrapped in barbed-wire. And for once, Brody is forthcoming and honest with this information (whereas we know he's lied about meeting Abu Nazir). While Saul plays the Good Cop in the interrogation room, Brody feeds Saul information about his time in captivity, lending Saul what Carrie refers to as "omnipotence." It's an interrogation tactic that lets the prisoner believe he's hopeless against an all-knowing, all-powerful force. Ultimately, they leave Hamid with a piece of paper and a crayon (love that touch. Also, it's a purple crayon, if you were curious), and tell him to write down the names of his contacts.
Throughout the interrogation, Carrie has her eyes fixed on Brody, not Hamid, and per her usual protocol, she reports back to Saul with utter certainty: Obviously Brody's nonverbal reactions to Hamid mean they're in cahoots! How can Saul not see it? But Saul stands firm, though this week it starts to seem that part of his reasoning isn't that Carrie isn't on to something but that they should keep Estes out of the loop for as long as possible.
It's not a bad idea, because Estes is fucking up all over the place. Primarily in allowing Brody to guilt him into being let into the room with Hamid so that he can face down his former captor. Estes is just as invested in the Brody-as-Hero narrative as Carrie is invested in Brody-as-Terrorist, so it's no surprise he ends up being swayed by Brody saying that he's owed this by his country. Meanwhile, Hamid coughs up a Crayola confession, including a drop-box e-mail address that gets traced back to our airport housing pal Fizel. So while Carrie and her team head for the house — where they find that Fizel and his wife have cleared out after likely being tipped off — Brody meets with Hamid to tell him that despite his best efforts, he could not break him. Hamid's response is a big ol' loogie in Brody's face, which gets Brody to finally snap (at least in public; that poor reporter's throat would remind you that Brody's snapped before). As Carrie would later ascertain from the tape, Brody tackled Hamid into the corner of the room that was out of range of the camera — once again, Carrie is felled by a blind spot. And it should go without saying, but Carrie thinks this was intentional. And when Hamid turns up dead in the interrogation room with his wrists cut open by a razor that could not have been smuggled in, you can imagine how this fits into Carrie's Brody narrative. It's everything she's feared since she heard about an American POW being turned: missing the moment when Brody gets in the game. If he slipped Hamid the razor in the guise of a fight, that's the smoking gun she's been looking for.
So naturally Carrie ends up taking this all out on Saul, who is still telling her she doesn't have anything concrete on Brody. Because ... she doesn't. Like that matters! She calls out Saul's "detached routine" and asks when he became such a pussy! Then, in seriously the greatest moment of this young series, Carrie goes all "FUCK THIS SHIT," complete with emphatic arm gestures. Loooooove! GIF, please!
Carrie ends up breaking down — Claire Danes Is an Awesome Crier Alert — and retreating to her sister's house. Luckily, Maggie keeps some emergency wine handy. Carrie says she's on the verge of quitting (she won't), but she seems to be comforted by her nieces, one of whom wakes up in the middle of the night when Carrie can't sleep. She asks Carrie is she's afraid of the bad people who want to blow them up. "We'll protect you," the adorable moppet offers. "That's my job," are Carrie's poignant last lines.
Carrie's Fridge Update: Nothing this week, though hopefully Maggie sends her home with something in a Tupperware.
Virgil and Max Update: They manage to bamboozle the office manager at Fizel's university with some strategic vase breaking. Max, as always, has to play the buffoon.
Jessica Brody Marital Strife Update: Jess tries to get Brody's attention by getting her hair cut short, the way he likes it. It must remind him of happier times before he went to war and when she was an evil alien queen. It doesn't keep him from bristling at Chris's close relationship with "Uncle" Mike, though.
Mandy Patinkin Amazing Line Delivery Update: "So you're a religious man and a torturer? What are you, Catholic?"